By Alexandros G. Charalambides, Cyprus University of Technology.
The ENERFUND tool aims to scale up investments in deep renovation of buildings across Europe. Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, it provides key stakeholders such as financing institutions, energy service companies and local authorities, with sound and up-to-date information regarding the energy efficiency of the EU’s building stock.
ENERFUND offers the opportunity to compare deep-renovation opportunities of single buildings using data from energy performance certificates (EPC) and is constantly upgraded with extended data and functionalities. It is freely accessible online and, up to date, provides buildings’ information for 13 European countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In total, more than 73 million unique building data coming from 8 million energy performance certificates are now embedded and geocoded into the tool, and more are coming soon!
The tool’s capabilities have been presented in Brussels during the “New technologies and open data levers to achieve climate and energy goals” conference in January 2019. The presentation was part of a series of talks on energy data related projects, with speakers from Climate-KIC, DG Energy, Energy Web Foundation, BUILD UP, etc. All the presentations can be downloaded from the ENERFUND’s website (http://enerfund.eu/2019/01/24/enerfund-final-conference-new-technologies...).
During the project duration, three main problems have been identified regarding the collection, analysis and utilization of data from the EPC registries of the aforementioned countries:
· EPC data is not always publicly available or in an electric format, that can be easily used by the public or even by the relevant authorities. Furthermore, in some cases, all data to calculate the EPC Rating was available online (i.e. even doors’ surface area), while in others, only the EPC Rating was available.
· EPC data is not harmonised across all Member States. Since the categorization of each data category is not uniform, a cross-country database cannot be created and automatic comparison between countries is not feasible.
· EPC data is not geocoded and thus cannot easily be displayed on maps or aggregated to extract valuable information out of it.
Based on the above, during the Conference, the following main recommendations that emerged from the project were presented and analyzed:
· Energy related databases and registries should be constantly updated by the competent authorities. For example, data regarding funding schemes and incentives for example, that could be coupled with EPC data, was in most cases outdated and there was no way to validate if the information was still valid.
· It should become compulsory for all databases/registries/etc regarding energy information (for example certified installers of insulation, availability of funds for retrofits, geothermal potential, etc) that emerge either from European funded projects or initiatives to be properly geocoded and openly available by all interested parties/stakeholders.
· There is a need to harmonize all energy related data, in alignment with the INSPIRE directive.
· Due to the fact that individuals at the various competent authorities regarding EPC registries are unaware whether or not they are allowed to share EPC data with other parties, the EU Commission should issue a set of Guidelines on how the Environmental Information, the INSPIRE the PSI and the GDPR Directives affect sharing of energy data for the common good.
In conclusion, the availability of transparent, harmonized and up-to-date open-data is urgently needed in our struggle to achieve the climate policy targets set by the EU.